As adults transition from middle agers to the golden agers, many find their housing needs have changed. You may no longer want a home surrounded by families with young children, or you may decide it's difficult to maintain your yard without help. You may also have concerns about your monthly mortgage payments or feel lonely in your current environment.
These are all valid and normal concerns faced by elderly adults, which is why it's important to seek help from a senior-friendly real estate agent before making housing-related decisions. Here are some tips for finding a real estate agent who is perfect for your needs, whether you're looking to downsize and reduce your mortgage or getting rid of it completely.
Ask About Previous Experience
Some real estate agents claim they are senior-friendly professionals yet have minimal experience with elderly adults. When you meet a new real estate agent, ask plenty of questions about their work history, including:
- Do you take a different approach with seniors than young or middle-aged adults?
- What are some important things for seniors to consider when buying or selling a home?
- How many older adults have you worked with over the years?
- What should I know before I sell my home and move to a senior living community?
You should also ask general questions about marketing and commissions before you hire a real estate agent. This helps ensure you understand the entire process, including how long it might take and how much you might spend. Make sure you take home any contracts and review them carefully before you sign, and ask a loved one for help if you don't understand something on the forms.
Real estate agents typically undergo a formal training process that results in licensing or certification, but some agents also receive their Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation. This credential shows an agent is specially trained to handle special situations that commonly affect seniors. These agents understand reverse mortgages, retirement housing investments and the importance of sticking to a budget during the buying or selling process. They also have knowledge regarding federal regulations, such as the Housing for Older Persons Act, and realize how Social Security benefits can impact an elderly adult's ability to handle mortgage payments.
SRES-trained agents communicate effectively with seniors, and they understand that some elderly adults prefer phone calls or in-person meetings over texts or emails. Regardless of a senior's preferred communication method, they can generally expect a pressure-free experience with an SRES-trained agent. This helps seniors feel valued and respected during every step of the process, so they're comfortable working with the agent they choose.
Meet With Several Agents
Pay attention to how you feel when you meet with different agents. You aren't obligated to choose the first real estate agent you meet, so keep that in mind as you search for a potential fit. Consider asking other elderly adults for recommendations, and let agents know that you need some time to decide how you want to proceed. There's no need to rush into a contract with a real estate agent, even if you're on a tight deadline for reversing your mortgage or selling your home. Take some time to find an agent who truly understands your needs so you can limit potential issues throughout the buying, selling or reversing process.
If you're ready to bid farewell to your monthly mortgage payment, consider aging at a senior living community like Brightview Senior Living instead. Experience the perks of life at Brightview by scheduling a visit to explore our vibrant community. We look forward to seeing you soon!